Some government officials and employees have such a bloated sense of self-importance, they look down upon citizens who come to their offices to transact business.
They forget that the very citizens they scorn pay for their salaries through taxes.
These officials or employees should be told they are public servants, not masters.
One such official who should be reminded that he is a public servant and so has no reason to be arrogant is the registrar of deeds of Abra province.
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Josefina Valera Sibayan, 78, a longtime US resident who decided to stay here for good, went to the Office of the Registry of Deeds in Bangued, Abra’s capital, recently to renew the title to her property.
A former US federal employee used to the courteousness of American workers towards citizens transacting business with the US government, Sibayan was shocked at the insults she allegedly received from Danilo V. Molina, registrar of deeds of the province.
The old woman said it was the first time she met Molina and couldn’t understand why he called her names.
As Molina entered the Registry of Deeds building, Sibayan said she saw many people sitting on chairs or standing outside his office.
Molina was not in office attire, wearing a T-shirt and slippers, Sibayan added.
The registrar reportedly ordered the security guard to drive away all the “fixers” out of the building.
Then, pointing to Sibayan, he reportedly said, “That old lady who is senile and illiterate, drive her out too.”
He probably mistook Sibayan for a fixer, an outsider who expedites the approval of documents for a fee.
Sibayan said she told Molina she came to his office to “pick up the title to our land because we need it.”
Molina went inside his office and after 20 minutes came out and started shouting at her.
“You senile, illiterate old woman, with your saliva drooling, get out of this building,” Sibayan quoted Molina as telling her.
Humiliated, Sibayan said she shot back at the land official, also in Ilocano:
“Sir, I may be old but I am not senile and I don’t drool. I am educated. I pray that when you get to be as old as I am you will not s**t in your pants. I am the daughter of the late Judge Pacoy Valera of Bangued who taught me to be courteous and respectful to others at all times.”